Sign Builder September 2020

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THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE

S E P T E M B E R 2020 | S I G N S H O P.CO M

VEHICLE SIGN BUILDER

WRAP-UP TO DAY ' S W R A P P I N G M A R K E T

ILLUSTRATED

CHANNEL LETTERS:

PUTTING THE LIGHTS IN FLIGHTS

RETAIL SIGNAGE:

PROJECTS AND PRODUCTS


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CONTENTS

SEPTEMBER 2020

VOL. 34

NO. 302

HOW-TO COLUMNS

16

UP WITH PPP

By Adam Brown Impact of the Paycheck Protection Program for one sign shop.

DEPARTMENTS

4 6

10

Cover Photo: 3M.

38 40

EDITOR’S COLUMN

The shopping landscape has transformed, and Jeff Wooten explains how our retail special is designed to help sign shops here.

IN THE INDUSTRY

An airport features eye-catching digital signage moments, PVC sheets help a salon reopen for business, and crane operator evaluation findings.

SIGN SHOW

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

SBI MARKETPLACE

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade.

SHOP TALK

ISA Vice President of Government Affairs David Hickey details why the sign industry doesn’t really slow down for a pandemic.

24 FEATURES

20 24 30 34

6 signshop.com

36

TAKING FLIGHTS

By Jeff Wooten A sign shop arrives at its destination with an award-winning project.

RETAIL ROUND-UP

By SBI Staff The latest projects, products, and projections for retail signage.

REVVING BACK UP

By Ashley Bray How COVID-19 is affecting the vehicle graphics market.

MAGNETIZING SIGN OPPORTUNITIES

By Maura Keller Magnets have quite the pull when it comes to P-O-P displays.

OUTDOOR GALLERY VIEW

By Patrick Gallagher Color-popping films highlight Oshkosh Mural Art Gallery. September 2020

Sign Builder Illustrated

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September 2020, Vol. 34, No. 302 Sign Builder Illustrated (ISSN 0895-0555) print, (ISSN 2161-0709) digital is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation

Subscriptions: 800-895-4389

EXECUTIVE OFFICES

President and Chairman Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. Publisher Arthur J. Sutley 88 Pine Street, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10005 212-620-7247 ; Fax: 212-633-1863

EDITORIAL

Editor Jeff Wooten 323 Clifton Street, Suite #7, Greenville, NC 27858 212-620-7244 jwooten@sbpub.com Managing Editor Ashley Bray 212-620-7220 abray@sbpub.com Contributing Writers Adam Brown, Patrick Gallagher, David Hickey, Maura Keller

ART

Art Director Nicole D’Antona Graphic Designer Hillary Coleman

PRODUCTION

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers

CIRCULATION

Circulation Director Maureen Cooney mcooney@sbpub.com

ADVERTISING SALES

Publisher/West Coast Sales Arthur J. Sutley 212-620-7247 asutley@sbpub.com Associate Publisher/Mid-West Sales Jeff Sutley 212-620-7233 jsutley@sbpub.com Integrated Account Manager/East Coast & Canada David Harkey 212-620-7223 dharkey@sbpub.com Sign Builder Illustrated is published monthly. All rights reserved. Nothing herein may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. To purchase PDF files of cover and layouts or hard copy reprints, please call Art Sutley at 212-620-7247 or e-mail asutley@sbpub.com.

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September 2020

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Delivering the 5-Star Customer Experience With a growing photopolymer business, Graphic Components was in search of a reliable partner who shared the same dedication to great customer service. Nova Polymers stepped up to help the wholesale fabricator scale its manufacturing processes through on-site guidance, quick turnaround time, and fast delivery of materials.

novapolymers.com

888-484-NOVA (6682) info@novapolymers.com Scan to read full story


EDITOR’S COLUMN

AGENDA

BY JEFF WOOTEN

Note: Due to COVID-19 concerns, all events listed below are subject to change. Please check each show’s Web site for any cancellations or reschedules.

OCTOBER 2020 OCTOBER 5-26:

PRINTING United, the largest printing event in North America, has transitioned from an in-person event in Atlanta to a comprehensive digital platform. The show company has announced that it will be presenting four powerpacked weeks of hosted global programming and new product unveilings on its Web site. (printingunited.com)

I Can Get It for You Retail Checking out our retail round-up spotlight.

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NOVEMBER 3-6:

uncertainty surrounding the virus over the coming months. We thought now would be an interesting time to check out this market. On page 24, you’ll find our Spotlight section, “Retail Round-Up,” which focuses on some of the latest projects, products, and projections for retail signage amongst the sign community. This section starts out interviewing a business that is combating COVID-19 through in-store poster and decal designs and gives a good overview of how the pandemic is influencing layouts, messages, and opportunities. This is followed by brief recaps of some of the latest news and product announcements related to retail signage. At the end of each entry, you’ll find links directing you to more information on our Web site. (Note: Our focus on retail doesn’t just stop there, as we also have an article on page 34, “Magnetizing Sign Opportunities,” that checks out the pull behind the different styles of magnets for point-of-purchase applications.) As retail continues to open back up to some type of “normalcy” and sign makers and graphics providers figure out how to sell back into these markets, we hope this special spotlight section helps you ring up even more business here.

JEFF WOOTEN Editor, jwooten@sbpub.com

September 2020

Engage – National Networking Conference, hosted by the Mid South Sign Association, will take place at the Hilton Knoxville, World’s Fair Park in Knoxville, Tennessee. (midsouthsign.org)

NOVEMBER 11-13:

Digital Signage Expo 2020, the world’s only international event dedication to digital signage and interactive display solutions, has been rescheduled to now take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center-South Hall 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (digitalsignageexpo.net)

MARCH 2021 MARCH 23-25:

LabelExpo/Brand Print Americas 2021 is now rescheduled to commence at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois . (brandprint-americas.com)

APRIL 2021 APRIL 7-9:

Photo: Indiesigns.

I

f you’re a sign shop that frequently works with retail-oriented clients, then the previous months have most likely been like a rollercoaster ride for you. When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit our shores earlier this year, the retail market pretty much shut down as stay-athome orders spread across the country. The thought of going out shopping at a brick-and-mortar practically shriveled up during the early days and weeks of the pandemic, forcing many then-active sign makers catering to this sector to refocus their efforts and output toward healthcare, emergency, and other deemed-essential industries in an effort to make up for any lost or reduced profits. Fortunately it appears that this market is making tracks upward again. According to a press release from Analyticom (analyticom.com), their Money Anxiety Index, which measures the level of consumers’ anxieties based on actual financial behavior, actually decreased 10.9 index points in July to 108 from 119.6 in June, pushing retail sales up 1.2 percent (slightly above pre-pandemic levels actually). And while retail is going to remain hotand-cold in terms of when and where consumers decide to spend dollars nowadays, the sign market should be on a little firmer ground when it comes to working with these clients. Sale and promotional signage are intermixing with health and safety precautions, as retail businesses try to get back up to speed with their customers. And hopefully this sector will remain a little more stable despite the still-

NOVEMBER 2020

ISA International Sign Expo makes its return and is scheduled to occur in Las Vegas, Nevada. (signexpo.org)

signshop.com


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IN THE INDUSTRY Escalators provide visitors with an up-close view of the LED signage totem.

AIRPORT FEATURES EYE-CATCHING

DIGITAL SIGNAGE MOMENTS

L

INCOLNSHIRE, ILLINOIS—Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport serves tens of millions of passengers as well as sees hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo passing through it each year. To entertain an influx of visitors, Sheremetyevo recently undertook an enormous modernization project that involved the demolition of the airport’s original Terminal 1 and the construction of an entirely new transportation hub, Terminal B, in its place. The end-result is an international example of digital signage that can prove inspirational anywhere. For the new Terminal B’s bold digital signage solutions, Sheremetyevo turned to LG Business Solutions to help them grab passengers’ attention, provide a 6

Sign Builder Illustrated

taste of Russian culture, and complement the terminal’s avant-garde architectural design. LG only had a month-and-a-half to install hundreds of digital signage products; they were more than ready for the challenge. They swiftly installed and troubleshot each piece of digital signage in time to greet Terminal B’s first passengers. Sheremetyevo Airport required a piece of digital signage that could serve as the focal point within Terminal B as well as a landmark not only for the airport, but for Moscow as well. LG recommended the installation of a massive four-sided direct-view LED signage totem display, strategically placed to be seen by everyone heading up to Sheremetyevo’s Departures hall. By far the largest single

September 2020

piece of digital signage in Terminal B, the LED signage totem rises two stories up from its base, and the escalator next to it allows passengers to take in its enormous scale up close. Made up of LG’s high-brightness LAS series digital signage displays that provide up to 1,000 nits of brightness, wide viewing angles, and reliable 24/7 operation, the LED signage totem stands out from the rest of the terminal’s architecture to display intricate animated clock towers, Russian cultural showcases, and advertisements for travelers approaching in all directions. The LED signage totem was a demanding challenge to install and set up. A custom frame with an incorporated aircooling system first had to be constructed. signshop.com


Digital signs are prominent in the Departures terminal.

“Circle and Cube.”

LED signage totem.

Each individual LED unit had to bear extremely stringent manufacturing and installation tolerances to ensure that there would be no visible gaps between them to form a seamless four-sided screen that presents passengers with ultra-bright, high-resolution visuals with true colors. Designed in the avant-garde style of early twentieth century Russian constructivists, the new Terminal B features bold architectural stylings with stark colors and sharp angles. Building on the constructivist design philosophy, Terminal B has two digital art sculptures inspired by the Proun drawings and paintings of El Lissitzky, a Russian avant-garde artist. Titled “Circle and Cube,” this installation creatively integrates art and cutting-edge technology. Multiple LED signshop.com

units were set within custom frames to create circular LED screens as well as square LED screens mounted in cube form to offer passengers a uniquely Russian synchronized media experience unlike any other digital signage anywhere else in the world. Sheremetyevo, impressed by the quality of the LG Flight Information Display Systems (FIDS) already installed in its other terminals, worked closely with LG to make sure that passengers would be within sight of LG digital signage every moment they are in Terminal B. For those arriving at Terminal B, passengers are guided to the correct baggage carousel by unique, freestanding displays composed of forty-nine-inch webOS signage mounted on top of eighty-six-inch

4K UHD signage displays. Designed for maximum visibility, the UHD screens display colorful airport information and advertising videos at ultra-high resolution, while the webOS signage informs passengers of where to pick up their luggage. When departing, passengers are guided to the proper check-in counter by forty-nine-inch webOS signage displays hanging above each ticket agent. Capable of self-playing content without the need to install a media player, webOS signage simplifies operations while also delivering the right information at the right time. Despite the extremely short timeframe for installation and troubleshooting, each and every piece of LG digital signage within Terminal B has been operating beautifully from the get-go.

September 2020

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IN THE INDUSTRY CRANE OPERATOR EVALUATION FINDINGS

F VYCOM HELPS SALON

REOPEN FOR BUSINESS

N

EWINGTON, CT— Like most small businesses, Strandz Salon saw everything come to a screeching halt during the COVID-19 pandemic. The full-service hair salon accommodates eight stylists at independent stations while sharing two shampoo stations. When word came that Reopen Connecticut plans were underway, Owner Kelly D’Anna reviewed the list of requirements for new physical space setup, personal protection protocols, additional cleaning, and operator training. The new guidelines required six feet of distance with physical barriers in place, where possible. With fixed stations for stylists at less than six feet apart plus the shampoo stations roughly three feet apart, D’Anna needed to find a way to create separation without isolation. Her local fabricator recommended Vintec® Clear PVC sheets from Vycom because of their excellent chemical resistance to common cleaners and disinfectants. Another benefit is that Vintec Clear is heavier than commonly-used acrylic products, which means the panels wouldn’t sway when blow dryers were in use. With only a two-week window to prepare for the initial reopening date, the 8

Sign Builder Illustrated

fabricator was able to acquire the material quickly. Vycom had immediate availability of Vintec Clear, as the company was operating as an essential business providing materials to create barriers, partitions, and furniture for temporary and semi-permanent field hospitals and other builds. The 4-by-8-foot Vintec Clear sheets with a 3/16-inch thickness were easily fabricated using basic tools including a drill, a circular saw, and a deburring tool. The panels were cut to four-foot square pieces and small holes were drilled at the top edge of the panels; they were hung throughout the salon using steel chains and S-hooks. “The whole installation process took us under two hours,” said D’Anna. “We have panels in the reception area, at the checkout desk, between the stylist stations, and between the shampoo stations. The result is stunning. “I like that even though each station is protected, I can still see the entire salon. While I can see through the panels, the slight blue tint means that anyone in the salon intuitively knows where the panels are, and won’t accidentally bump into one. Our customers also like the additional privacy afforded by the panels.”

September 2020

A I R F A X , V I R G I N I A — Most employers have a fairly sound understanding of their duties and responsibilities to evaluate their crane operators, according to a new report published by the NCCCO Foundation. But there are some aspects of the OSHA crane operator qualification rule published in November 2018 that give rise to a degree of confusion and misunderstanding. “Most employers that completed the survey were aware of the key elements of the evaluation requirement and how it works together with training and certification to complete the qualification process,” said NCCCO Foundation CEO Graham Brent. “In fact, many already had a process in place that simply needed to be reviewed in light of the new rule.” Results were less strong when employers were asked to identify events that would trigger new evaluations, as well as the criteria they used to qualify evaluators. While some had a negative view of the requirement (Brent said a third found it “burdensome”), fully 61 percent believed it would “help to save lives.” Note: This report is free to download at ncccofoundation.org.

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SIGN SHOW BANNERS/MATERIAL/EQUIPMENT

DIGITAL PRINTING/EQUIP./SUPPLIES

Get Hands On with the Image One Impact MANO Press

Canon U.S.A. Brings the ProStream 1800 to the U.S.

Image One Impact is a manufacturer and supplier of highq u a l i t y products for the sign, graphics, and vehicle wrap industries. The company understands its customers’ challenges and helps by providing cost-saving solutions for them. One such easyto-use solution is their MANO hand grommet press, a portable, heavy-duty, solid-steel tool that is designed for PVC banners and corrugated plastic. The MANO hand grommet press cuts holes and sets grommets in one easy motion. It includes a #3 die as well as a bag of 250 free clear grommets. These clear grommets are great for digital prints, fabrics, and banner stands, as they turn invisible when hung up. Meanwhile Image One Impact also offers plastic grommets in sets of 500 per bag in Clear, Black, and White styles. image1impact.com/product/mano-handgrommet-press-2

With increased speeds of up to 436 feet per minute, the new ProStream 1800 continuous feed inkjet printer from Canon boasts one of the highest resolutions and print qualities of any digital printing press at that speed, making it the ideal solution for commercial printers who want to achieve ultimate performance. Combining new inkjet innovations with proven offset printing techniques, the press strikes a unique balance between high productivity, superior print quality, flexibility, and media versatility. Commercial printers can now expand their offerings by migrating higher volume jobs from offset to digital inkjet. The ProStream 1800, which also happens to be the newest model in Canon’s ProStream 1000 series, can achieve a very high level of print quality across a broad range of media (including standard offset coated, uncoated, and inkjet optimized papers from 40gsm to 300gsm), with the ability to print up to 22 inches wide and up to 60 inches long. The ProStream 1800 eliminates the need to stop production to switch between different format lengths to ensure a seamless changeover—providing additional flexibility and ease-of-use for operators. usa.canon.com

FABRICS Protect Against COVID-19 with Fisher Textiles’ Disenfectex Printable Fabrics Fisher Textiles announces the launch of Disenfectex™ printable fabric enhanced by HeiQ V-block in collaboration with HeiQ. Marketed as HeiQ Viroblock in other countries, HeiQ V-block is an antiviral textile technology for industrial use, specially engineered to work against enveloped viruses, such as influenza viruses and human coronaviruses. Treated fabrics submitted by HeiQ have been tested by the Doherty Institute in Australia to be effective against 99.99 percent of SARS-CoV-2. Disenfectex fabrics treated with HeiQ V-block are resistant to microbes, and HeiQ V-block inhibits the growth of bacteria on the fabric. The line consists of a face mask fabric, a soft knit fabric, a sheer fabric, and a suede fabric available in roll widths 57 inches to 125 inches wide for transfer and direct dye sublimation printing. Disenfectex fabrics have many uses for PPE including face masks, sanitation stations, counter-top barriers, desk dividers, table and booth dividers, and pop-up screens for retail stores, restaurants, hotels, etc. When used in SEG systems as protective barriers, Disenfectex fabrics aid in social distancing requirements and act as an acoustic insulator to absorb sound and background noise. All Disenfectex fabrics are reusable and washable up to thirty gentle washes. fishertextiles.com

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SIGN SHOW CUTTERS/PLOTTERS

IMPRINTING/PROMOTIONALS

Summa’s New Web Site is a Major Step Forward in Building a Stronger Online Presence

CTI’s New Solvent Technology Drives Cup Innovations

Summa is proud to announce that its new Web site is more engaging and customer friendly for people active in the sign and display industries. With this n ew We b s i te, Summa wants to stay closer to its users and deliver an online experience that provides added value. That is why Summa changed its traditional product-oriented Web site into a dynamic platform. This platform shares knowledge about industry-specific topics and applications. It is also a platform that provides targeted product advice and inspiring user examples. The new structure is based on Summa’s four main customer groups. This format helps visitors to get relevant content within their business area. In a wide product range, it is not always easy to find a suitable product; therefore Summa has introduced a Solution Finder that guides users in the right direction of a cutting solution that might be suitable for their company. It prepares users for a consultation with a Summa representative, then the Applications section helps better explain the product’s potential. summa.com

The specialty inks that are very popular a m o n g s t consumers for driving interest on packaging for beer, soda, and candy are now feasible fo r fo u n ta i n cups as a result of Chromatic Technologies’ invention of solvent-specialty inks. CTI invented a new suite of colorchange technologies using solvent inks, including thermochromic (temperature-activated, pictured), photochromic (sunlight-activated), glow-in-the-dark, and reveal technology (wherein CTI’s magic reveals a message after product consumption). Previously solvent ink printers were forced to use water-based inks that slowed down manufacturing operations. The new solvent specialty inks eliminate the operational hurdles of water-based inks. Lyle Small, founder of CTI, comments, “Color-change technology is now affordable for cup printers, and they offer a tremendous innovation tool for printers to help drive new margin for their customers in quick-serve restaurants and convenience stores.” ctiinks.com

VINYL/VINYL FILMS/SUPPLIES FDC Graphic Films Adds Two New Lumina Floor Films to its Recovery Support Program Lumina® 7251 (pictured) from FDC Graphic Films, Inc., is a specially designed film with acrylic adhesive on a stay-flat liner for application to smooth tile and concrete interior surfaces. Meanwhile Lumina ® 7279 is a flexible vinyl constructed with a pressure-sensitive adhesive on a stay-flat liner that is suited for industrial carpets with a short nap and tight weave (as seen on tradeshow aisles for example) or tiles with a slightly textured surface. The two products are designed for short-term applications and are compatible with solvent, eco-solvent, UV-curable, and screen print ink technologies. Both floor films are ideal for point-of-purchase decals, social distancing graphics, and short-term wayfinding signage and are recommended to be used with Lumina® 7051 Anti-Skid Floor Laminate. The introduction of these new films is part of FDC’s new recovery support program to help customers begin the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. fdcfilms.com

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SIGN SHOW LED MODULES/TUBES/STRIPS

PAINTS/COATINGS/FINISHES

LEDtronics Adds New Colors to Their Offerings of Intermediate-based LED Bulbs

Introducing QHF Q-COAT Antimicrobial Coatings

The new highlumen LED T5 Tube Bulbs from L E D t ro n i c s ® a re now available in any combination of multiple base selections and emitted light colors and are the ideal replacements for oldtechnology incandescents. In addition to the 6000K clear model with pure white illumination, the T5 compact bulb series now includes various LED and polycarbonate lens color choices—Aqua Green (519nm), Super Red (632nm), Pure Blue (455nm), and Amber Yellow (612nm). They are featured in a nickel-plated brass Ba15D 15mm double-contact bipolar bayonet base. However they are available in any combination of any color with any of the other base options as well—Ba15S 15mm single-contact bayonet, E12 12mm candelabra screw, E14 14mm European screw, and E17 17mm intermediate screw. The design of the LED16T5 series allows for quick installations and is ideal for enclosed fixtures and tight spaces. The compact T5 tube bulbs are rated for input voltage of 10~30 VDC and provide an omnidirectional 360-degree, no-shadow beam pattern. ledtronics.com

Q-COAT Antimicrobial Coatings from QHF are a series of highperformance coatings for metals, plastics, and many other substrates formulated with silver ions to inhibit the growth of microorganisms in or on the paint film. Unlike “post applied” disinfectants that provide a limited residual activity once the treated surface dries, QHF’s integrated silver ion antimicrobial technology works to continuously minimize the presence of microorganisms throughout the entire lifecycle of the coating. Q-COAT Antimicrobial Coatings are formulated with low-VOC highperformance resins, UV non-fading pigments, and active silver ions to provide a highly durable and environmentally friendly coating that stands up to extreme conditions and provides continuous prevention and ongoing protection from microorganisms in or on the paint film. Customers utilizing paint mixing equipment can easily convert any standard QHF coating to a Q-COAT AMC™ coating by simply substituting the binder for an AMC version binder. Customers utilizing premixed and/or factory package colors can easily convert any color by simply requesting the AMC (Anti Microbial Coating) version of the color when ordering. (803) 788-4499 or (800) 421-7961; qhfonline.com

ROUTERS/ENGRAVERS Trotec Adds Blazer Orange Laser Mask to its Growing Laserable Materials Line New Blazer Orange laserable mask is now available from Trotec Laser, Inc., in twenty-five-foot rolls through the organization’s Engraver’s Network Web shop. Designed and manufactured by IKONICS Imaging, Blazer Orange is a laserable film that can be used in conjunction with sandcarving equipment. It works by creating a protective barrier for the materials that will be sandcarved (such as glass, stone, or metal). The material is placed in a laser, and a design is cut into the laser film (creating a stencil). From there, the design can be sandcarved while the laser film protects the rest of the material, leaving a beautifully detailed design. Blazer Orange is not as stretchy as their previous laser film, allowing for dimensional stability. It also peels off with ease, making readjustments and color filling simple. Blazer Orange is the perfect addition to Trotec Laser’s line of materials because it gives their customers more capabilities that will allow them to add new products and increase product value to meet customer needs. engraving-supplies.com

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SIGN SHOW LED MODULES/TUBES/STRIPS Don’t Have Time to Screw Around? The New Tetra Snap for Easy, Fast Installation is Here for You! GE Current, a Daintree company, has unveiled two all-new extensions to its Tetra family, as well as a third-generation update to the Select TX™ that improves loading by 25 percent. The Tetra® Snap features a first-of-its-kind snap design that allows sign makers to snap LED modules into an aluminum extrusion. This innovative, unique design eliminates the need for screws and allows users the flexibility to customize the product on-the-fly by choosing between three different light levels, hitting a maximum 1,000 lumens per foot. Combined with Current’s patented OptiLens X optical design, this means even lighting on all sign faces, with modules placed as close or far apart as customers choose. Tetra Snap is a one-size-fits-all product for cabinet signs up to thirty-seven inches in depth. Like the entire Tetra lineup, Snap is a 24V product, cutting the amount of power supplies needed for any given sign when compared to 12V products, which greatly reduces material and labor costs while operating much more efficiently. Current is also announcing two recent updates to its signage lighting family. Tetra Atom is the company’s smallest module ever (for channel letters as shallow as one inch) and brings Tetra to a variety of new applications (halo-lit, shallow channel letters, and routed acrylic letters). Meanwhile the new Select TX GEN 3 is the third generation of the Select TX LED lighting line and improves power supply loading by 25 percent compared to the previous generation—now load up to 50 Medium modules per 60W power supply. It is available in four different sizes (very small, small, medium, and large) and three different colors (medium red, medium blue, and medium green) to meet all channel letter needs. gecurrent.com/signage

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September 2020

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SIGN SHOW PVC Get Graphic(s) with Vycom's New Celtec DigiLite Utility PVC Signboard Celtec® signboard from Vycom is a premium PVC material that improves throughput in finishing, enabling print service providers to consistently and confidently produce highvalue display graphics applications. The new Celtec® DigiLite™ light density PVC sheet line provides comparable levels of quality and performance in an economical sheet that is approximately 15 percent lighter than Celtec premium signboard sheets. Lighter density sheets offer a more cost-effective solution by reducing shipping costs and providing ease-in-handling. DigiLite sheets offer superior ink adhesion for digital and screen printing processes. They can also be stained, varnished, laminated, and cut. Consistent craftsmanship in manufacturing ensures print service providers always receive sheets with dependable quality. DigiLite sign materials offer superior UV performance, an optimized white point, and a satin finish that is ideal for light-duty applications such as exhibit signage, point-ofpurchase displays, indoor and outdoor signage, decorated store fixtures, and more. Celtec DigiLite sheets are available for purchase in 3 mm and 6 mm thicknesses in standard sizes. Custom sheet dimensions are available by special order. vycomplastics.com

What’s inside matters. DON’T LEAVE INTERIOR SIGNAGE OUT OF THE CONVERSATION. Customizable letters and logos, plaques and ADA/wayfinding solutions from Gemini offer endless possibilities for your customers’ sign projects, indoors and out. Our wide range of capabilities, materials, special finishes, coatings and color match expertise will inspire and enhance any project. Plus our superior service, tools and resources are available every step of the way.

Capture more interior signage business with expert solutions from Gemini.

Learn more about partnering with Gemini.

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signshop.com

US: 800-538-8377 | Canada: 800-265-0426

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HOW TO

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

BY ADAM BROWN

Up With PPP Impact of the Paycheck Protection Program for one shop.

Right On Target Currently we are right on target for 100 percent forgiveness, as the PPP has worked beautifully and has kept all our crews on the job. Although the PPP process seems to be changing daily, every modification I’ve seen so far has been to our benefit. I believe the intent of the government is 16

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that it wants all of the loans to be forgiven; and if not forgiven, any fund balance would be at a one percent interest rate, which is almost unheard of anywhere. We were a little bit more conservative with our application request amount, as we wanted to set ourselves in the best position for the approval. We also didn’t want to overborrow and take on too much debt. We’re especially grateful to Associated Bank for guiding co-owner Rick Rossetti and myself through the loan process and keeping us on the right track. Our Top and Bottom Lines We, like many others, took a lump on the chin this year. Because of the economic shut down, our sales were down about 50 percent in March and April due in part to customers holding back on purchases, but PPP allowed us to maintain our cash flow without having to send employees home. We tightened our belt, but we did so in

September 2020

very strategic areas and were allowed to keep our team together. I’m happy to report that our sales team exceeded our forecasts in May. Trending wise, looking at year-to-date sales revenue, we’re in a good position so far. Our company goal is always growth, not survival. That means we’re targeting

Rick Rossetti (left) and Adam Brown of Sign Effectz, Inc.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com/ Vitalii Vodolazskyi

B

ack in March, things were heating up for small businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing, and the economic lockdown was relatively new. Understandably many of us business owners were staring down a whole lot of uncertainty. Regardless of what you may think about the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP), we are a poster business for this program. As we prepare for loan forgiveness, it’s become very clear how important this program is to the health of our country and our company.


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INBOX SBI Update, Sign Builder Illustrated’s e-newsletter, delivers the latest hot topics and news from around the sign industry right to your email.

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to invest money back into the system. Money doesn’t belong under the mattress. We’ll invest in equipment and people. Some of those investment funds will continue to go into ADA signage manufacturing, replacing at least one machine and/or truck, upgrading our IT, and bringing another salesperson on by the end of the year. Silver linings and opportunities through disparity is the philosophy. Thanks to PPP, these initiatives didn’t have to be put on the back burner. Making History 2020 is going to go down in history, but my prediction is our overall economy is going to be much stronger when we come out of this. Rick and I salute all the employees that kept working through the pandemic. Our employees are the biggest asset this company has. We set them up as best we could to help put their mind at ease with PPE, safety guidelines, etc. I can’t say enough about how well the PPP worked for us, and I hope it served others as well. It allowed me to focus on what needed to be done managing the company through a crisis. It helped prevent a lot of stress for us not having to worry as much about cash flow. Obviously concerns over a second and third wave of COVID-19 are real. Anxiety and uncertainty still present challenges. However, we’ve established how to manage the business better in these challenging situations. The reality is, at some point, you must come out of the foxhole and move forward. As we can all imagine, it’s not easy coming out of a foxhole! But you can’t stay pinned down forever. Determination supersedes fear. Our determination to move forward takes on a whole new momentum. The virus is a bully, and the PPP gives us business owners the tool to stand up to that bully. PPP was the trainer during the heavyweight boxing match, and businesses like ours are in the eighth round of the fight—a fight we’re determined to win! Adam Brown is the president of Sign Effectz, Inc. (signeffectz.com) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 18

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HELPING YOUR SHOP

GROW PROFITS!

Sign Builder Illustrated is the “how-to magazine” of the sign industry. Each issue includes SBI’s signature “how-to” columns and features with detailed, step-by-step instructions covering a wide range of signage. SBI’s website (signshop. com), newsletters, Buyer’s Guide, and digital edition keep you updated with timely news, recent projects, and upcoming industry events.

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SIGN PACKAGE BY JEFF WOOTEN

TAKING FLIGHTS

F

LIGHTS is a comfort food, tapasstyle restaurant that incorporates an aviation theme with a blend of “top-flight” food and cocktails. Last year, the restaurant expanded from several locations in California to make a new landing at the cutting-edge Miracle Mile Shops complex located on the Las Vegas Strip. The interior of the Miracle Mile Shops features a mix of shopping and food destinations all housed within exotic architecture and underneath ceilings that provide a faux-outdoor night-

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time appearance. Since the founder of FLIGHTS originated his establishments around the idea of finding the “perfect flight of cocktails,” he knew he was going to need appropriate scenery and signage at his new Vegas hub that would act as the perfect landing spot in the facility. The end-result involved a stunning combination of graphics and lighting— all of which was designed, built, and installed by Image360 South Las Vegas in time for the take-off grand opening. Image360 South Las Vegas is owned and

September 2020

operated by Ruth and Terry Whalen and has been in business for twenty-two years now. The shop started out mainly offering with print and vinyl before the Whalens decided to also move into the electrical side of things with channel letters, box signs, and pylon signs. Today Image360 South Las Vegas has a staff of thirteen highly skilled employees, and their production area features a Multicam router, an Accu-Bend channel letter bender, a Mimaki flatbed and roll-to-roll printer, and a Vision engraver (for ADA signs). signshop.com

Photos: Image360 South Las Vegas

A sign shop arrives at its destination with an award-winning project.


The aviation theme of the new FLIGHTS restaurant was incorporated into a selfie wall (left) and channel letter lighting.

Over the years, the company has successfully transitioned into being able to provide complete sign packages for schools and hospitals, an angle that greatly benefited them in being able to work on this FLIGHTS job. And their shop’s work on this FLIGHTS project also earned them top honors as the Alliance Franchise Brands Project of the Year Winner for 2019 (which is impressively the second year in a row that they have taken home this prize). Alliance Franchise Brands LLC and its subsidiary, KK Printing Canada ULC, are the franchisors of more than 600 locations in North America operating the company’s brands. Those related to the sign industry include Image360, Signs Now, Signs By Tomorrow, Insty-Prints, and American Speedy Printing Centers. Alliance Franchise Brands annually asks its members to submit their most challenging, impressive, or creative project that they have completed for the year, and nominees are then whittled down to a final voting ballot. (Note: See sidebox on page 22). This year, due to the pandemic, entries were voted on by the members of the Alliance Franchise Brands network in a blind online vote. Image360 South Las Vegas Sales signshop.com

Manager Tina Ayala (whom Terry Whalen describes as “one of their best salespeople”) oversaw the “flight plan” for this project. “We’ve been doing large and creative signage for many years, so we have the talent and experience to get the job done to our client’s satisfaction,” she says. “When a client presents us with an idea in an artist’s rendering, we always want to exceed their expectations when they see their vision realized.” When Ayala met the FLIGHTS owner, his original plan was to have the signage made elsewhere and then shipped to Image360 South Las Vegas for installation; however Ayala, seeing they were a “good fit,” convinced him to allow her shop to do the fabrication as well. “ You can’t spell “FLIGHTS” without “lights,” and blue- and yellow-themed LED border and accent lighting can be found throughout the FLIGHTS Las Vegas restaurant. This color lighting scheme was the client’s idea, as it followed the aviation theme of the establishment. The blue lighting represents an actual flight in the sky, while the blue and yellow entails the colors of a pilot’s uniform. For the channel letters, Image360 South Las Vegas had to make backlit channel letters that would appear a brighter shade of yellow. “However we couldn’t find the yellow that our client

liked, so we painted the inside of the cans a particular yellow and then applied yellow translucent vinyl to the clear Lexan backers,” says Ayala. “We then applied white LEDs to the returns to achieve the vibrant yellow that our client desired.” The FLIGHTS owner also wanted lighting that would attract customers to his restaurant, so the Image360 South Las Vegas crew solved this by designing a front-lit can with a metal face in the shape of an arrow with yellow stripes mimicking the bars on a captain’s uniform. Vinyl graphics also played a role in the branding of this project—even before it opened. Image360 South Las Vegas printed a 20-by-141-1/2-foot barricade wall wrap that would hide the construction/ remodeling going on behind it. This required them to print thirty-two panels, trimming them, labeling and organizing them, and then storing them for later installation. “It took a week to print everything out,” says Ayala. The design intent for the barricade wall was to look different than a normal barricade wall one would find in a mall. “It was impressively tall, and we wanted a minimalistic look,” says Ayala. “We designed it as something ‘almost mysterious’ [for passers-by] as to what was going on behind that black wall. We

September 2020

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included pictures of food and a chef to indicate it was going to be a restaurant.” Since the client was heavily involved with social media platforms promoting the grand opening of this restaurant, Ayala came up with idea of adding a “selfie station” section on the black barricade wall. “The design intent was a photograph that meant something

personal to the client,” says Ayala. “So we made digital prints of life-sized retro FLIGHTS attendants with an empty space for the person to stand in front of while taking the selfie. We included the hashtag #flightsfood above it. [The owner] loved it!” This project had a very successful take-off, and Ayala credits a comprehen-

sive site survey beforehand for making sure all the sign lighting and graphics elements would come together and work. Ayala met the client onsite and went over a detailed checklist of where all the signage would be located. She took measurements by hand wherever she could. To obtain the correct measurements for the larger signage (twenty-five feet and up), she used ikeGPS’ Spike digital measuring device. Installation took place over three nights during Miracle Mile Shops’ after-hours. “Planning was tricky because the site was inside a mall,” says Ayala. “We had to coordinate with the mall staff when we could bring in the twenty-five-foot lift for the large sign install—which we did first. We recognized early on that the smaller bar signs could be done last.” Judging by the on-time, award-winning results, Image360 South Las Vegas definitely stuck the landing with flying colors. “The owner told us that he couldn’t imagine it looking as great as it did,” says Ayala, “and his reaction made all the hard work so worth it.”

Project of the Year Finalists THE THREE BRAND FINALISTS FOR THE ALLIANCE FRANCHISE BRANDS 2019 PROJECT OF THE YEAR WERE: • Image360 RVA, Scotty and Dorothy Hager (Richmond, Virginia) • Signs by Tomorrow Arlington Heights, Gerd and Jill Looff (Texas) • Signs Now BeavercreekDayton, Carol and Jim Jackson (Ohio)

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September 2020

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STAND OUT

FROM THE

CROWD

Sign Builder Illustrated is the “how-to magazine” of the sign industry. Each issue includes SBI’s signature “how-to” columns and features with detailed, step-by-step instructions covering a wide range of signage. SBI’s website (signshop. com), newsletters, Buyer’s Guide, and digital edition keep you updated with timely news, recent projects, and upcoming industry events. fb.com/SBIMag

@SBIMag

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SIGN BUILDER

ILLUSTRATED


SBI SPOTLIGHT

BY SBI STAFF

Retail Interview: Combating COVID-19 Through Design

I

ndiewalls, founded in 2011, is a New York-based art marketplace and consultancy that curates, commissions, and sells artwork to the commercial industry—helping project teams discover, purchase, and commission artworks from independent artists. They’ve had 24

Sign Builder Illustrated

the opportunity to develop, curate, and produce murals, sculptures, 2D works, custom installations, and more for some of the leading brands and properties in the world. Like many companies, Indiewalls’s business was drastically impacted by the economic shutdown this year. As a result, it launched Indiesigns (indiesigns. com), an initiative to employ independent artists who have suffered a loss of work as a result of COVID-19. These

September 2020

artists design pandemic-related wall, floor, and window signage with a positive and design-forward aesthetic aimed at helping businesses reopen safely without compromising on design. As social etiquette is evolving within the public sphere, these products help keep the public informed and safe through a variety of messaging on mask requirements, social distancing, occupancy limits, reminders for washing hands, limited supply announcements, signshop.com

Photo: Shutterstock/ Twinsterphoto

ROUND-UP


NOTE: For more information about this article, read the Editor’s Column on page 4.

Well designed signage is actually safer.

Photo: Indiesigns, designed by Jay Crum.

The latest projects, products, and projections for retail signage.

and more. Signage can be fully customized to reflect specific corporate branding or aesthetics. All of the signage adheres to CDC guidelines and is available in a variety of types: 1/4-inch SINTRA® rigid signs, peel-and-stick signage, or indoor/outdoor floor graphics. Indiesigns recommends a combination of these sign types be used in retail environments. “We absolutely recommend a combination. We’ve seen the adhesive floor signshop.com

decals be very popular, and the same adhesive material can be used for wall signs that want to be mounted flush with the wall—for example, a handwashing sign on a bathroom mirror,” says Ari Grazi, president of Indiesigns. “For wall signs in prominent locations, like at the entry/reception, we usually use rigid signs, which are 1/4-inch thick—they add a nice depth to the sign itself, creating a higher-end feel.” The company believes that design-forward signage not only beautifies spaces but also leads to better adherence by the public, further enhancing public health and recovery. “Visual communication sets the tone for what kind of experience patrons should expect. It provides an emotional context and individual personality for the space that informs how to act and what the patrons’ connection to their environment should be,” says Grazi. “Signage need not sacrifice aesthetics—in fact, quite the opposite; signage should prioritize aesthetics when the message being communicated is one fraught with hardship and, perhaps, even trauma.” Indiesigns also believes that well designed signage is actually safer. “We’ve

seen stores that opted to use painter’s tape or tiny dots, but people just walk right past them,” says Grazi. “A big visual—clearly marked—with vibrant colors will catch the customers’ attention and lead to safer interactions between patrons and staff.” When planning out sign installs in a retail space, Indiesigns recommends envisioning the entire customer experience from their approach to the store through when they exit. “When placing a sign, the decision should be intuitive, asking questions like: Where are customers looking? How are they moving through the space? How do [you] make these noticeable without disrupting the flow of people through a space?” says Grazi. “Asking these questions up-front will help establish placement.” Indiesigns has found a lot of demand for artistic and design-forward signage, and the company plans to expand beyond COVID-19 signs. “We have already begun working on some non-COVID signage,” says Grazi, “including permanent wayfinding and signage for several hotels and two large malls.” —Ashley Bray https://bit.ly/3kHxAtm

September 2020 Sign Builder Illustrated

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Product: Glass-Media Digital Activation Service

G Drytac FloorTac Textures.

Product: Drytac’s New One-part FloorTac Products

D

rytac FloorTac Textures and FloorTac Emerytex White RB are new one-part floor graphics solutions with nonslip certifications, designed for optimal ease of installation and maximum safety in public spaces. Drytac FloorTac Emerytex White RB provides safe, vibrant floor graphics with indoor durability of up to nine months. The slip-rated single-part floor graphics solution features a matte, pebble-textured finish that provides slip resistance and is also simple to apply thanks to its pressure-sensitive

Literature: Palram Americas Looks at the New Social Distancing Era

P 26

alram Americas, a leading global manufacturer of polycarbonate and PVC, has some ideas about what the “new

Sign Builder Illustrated

removable acrylic adhesive. It is suitable for standard printing technologies including eco-solvent, solvent, UV, and latex inks. Meanwhile Drytac FloorTac Textures has achieved slip-resistance certifications without the need for an overlaminate, helping to save time and money. It is fire-rated to give users extra peace of mind (with indoor durability of up to six months), and its pressuresensitive grey acrylic adhesive makes installation easy and removal clean at the end of its life. Both FloorTac Emerytex White RB and FloorTac Textures are compatible with most common flooring surfaces such as short-pile carpets, ceramic tiles, sealed wood, waxed vinyl, marble, terrazzo, and concrete. bit.ly/33BxYDg

normal” will look like, as businesses reshape their work environments in order to continue smooth operations throughout the pandemic and beyond. From protective barriers, dividers, signage, and cladding to new sanitation standards, Palram’s Concepts Brochure contains examples of Post-COVID layout solutions for retail stores and more. To help readers find the ideal material for their specific application, the brochure includes a Selection Guide comparing Palram’s sheet, multiwall, and panel system products sideby-side according to attributes such as opacity, impact resistance, flammability, and printability. bit.ly/31qNeAx

September 2020

lass-Media’s new Digital Activation as a Service (DAaaS) empowers brickand-mortar retailers to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 with visually stunning, dynamic, and engaging storefront displays that captivate shoppers, increase footfall, and drive conversion. Glass-Media’s visually engaging displays avoid the need for physical touch, a critical requirement to help protect shoppers and store associates in the midst of COVID-19. These solutions incorporate newer technologies, such as voice, gesture, motion detection triggers, gamification, and more. Glass-Media’s DAaaS lowers the cost of entry for next-generation digital signage and includes: Spotlight (a dynamic retail fixture that uses projection-based augmented reality (AR) and advanced projection mapping techniques to transform products and merchandise into experiential works of art), Layerable (a proprietary line of screen accessories tailored to enhance Glass-Media digital activations, as well as existing digital signage), and Digital Storefront (transforms tired, static store windows through Glass-Media’s proprietary projection-based display technology). Spotlight and Digital Storefront leverage Epson’s PowerLite and Pro L-Series projectors, along with the newly introduced PowerLite W70 mini and LightScene EV-100 accent lighting laser projectors. bit.ly/3afd0LW

Glass-Media’s Digital Storefront.

signshop.com


RISE ABOVE YOUR COMPETITION

SIGN BUILDER

ILLUSTRATED

Sign Builder Illustrated is the “how-to magazine” of the sign industry. Each issue includes SBI’s signature “how-to” columns and features with detailed, step-by-step instructions covering a wide range of signage. SBI’s website (signshop. com), newsletters, Buyer’s Guide, and digital edition keep you updated with timely news, recent projects, and upcoming industry events. fb.com/SBIMag

@SBIMag

Sign Builder Illustrated


Online: The SinaLite Apparel Resource Center

Product: Mactac PERMAHOLD Mounting Films

M

actac® Distributor Products is expanding its trusted PERMACOLOR® Overlaminates & Mounting Films product line with the launch of its Made in the U.S.A. PERMAHOLD™ high-performance mounting products. Macmount® White Foam Tapes are available in 1/32inch (IM1763) and 1/16-inch (IM1863) thicknesses. The polyethylene foam allows for conformability and compressibility to irregular surfaces. They feature 2.6-mils of rubber adhesive, which is specially formulated to maintain superior holding power and creep resistance for challenging indoor wall mounting applications. Available in 2.0-mil (IF4042) and 4.0-mil (IF4044) low-profile thicknesses, Macbond™ Acrylic High-Tack Transfer Adhesive products feature a solvent-free acrylic adhesive that is pH-neutral to avoid yellowing and offers added firmness for ease in handling, diecutting, and finishing. They offer excellent conformability to rough or uneven surfaces. Available in two constructions, Macbond Acrylic High-Tack Double-Coated Film tapes have been double coated with 2.4mils (IB4132) of solvent-free, pH-neutral permanent acrylic adhesive with non-yellowing properties. One construction features a 0.5-mil clear polyester carrier, and the other utilizes a 2.6-mil (IB4432) white opaque polypropylene carrier (an excellent backer in lieu of a white UV flood coat on CYMK prints). With high initial tack, they adhere to a wide variety of smooth, rough or uneven substrates, including printed UV inks. bit.ly/3kefzm0

Mactac PERMAHOLD

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September 2020

SinaLite Apparel Resource Center.

sneeze guards

T

he SinaLite Apparel Resource Center Web page (sinalite.com) provides downloadable guides to help the print community

sanitizing stations & stands

social distancing f loor decals & chair covers signshop.com


profit more from selling custom-printed apparel. This helpful hub contains a number of educational guides with topics including how to get apparel customers, how to prepare print-ready files, how to select the right type of apparel, and much more. SinaLite aims to help print providers and resellers grow their businesses with the knowledge that they

need to get ahead, as well as help them maximize their profits with wholesale prices on products (such as customprinted apparel). By providing both the commodity and the education, SinaLite takes a holistic approach to support its print partners. All the resources on this Web page are free to download, even for those who do not have a SinaLite

account. Even better is that SinaLite plans to continue adding more resources to the page that are related and relevant to selling custom-printed apparel. bit.ly/OaAt254sRk

Project: City Blue Imaging’s Cost-effective Solutions

C EXPANSIVE

RANGE OF

PPE

ity Blue Imaging of Rochester, New York is producing signage and wall coverings designed with COVID-19 safety regulations in mind using Canon’s imagePRESS technology. Offered in a variety of sizes and papers (including selfadhesive), these printed materials have helped encourage customers of local businesses to be aware of safety protocols upon entering. “As our local businesses prepare to reopen, we saw the need to develop signage to help keep customers aware of safety regulations and made the quick decision to use our expertise and technology to design banners, posters, and wall decals for these businesses to display,” said City Blue Imaging President Mark Cleary. “Through the imagePRESS’s fast speeds and high-quality output, we have been able to quickly meet the needs of our community and its cherished businesses, as we begin to get back to a sense of normalcy.” bit.ly/39XmJ9q

PRODUCTS & SOLUTIONS

City Blue Imaging’s Reopening Signage.

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FEATURE GRAPHICS VEHICLE NAME

BY ASHLEY AUTHORBRAY BY

REVVING BACK UP How COVID-19 is affecting the vehicle graphics market.

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C

OVID-19 affected many areas of the sign industry, and the vehicle graphics market was not excluded. One of the immediate effects of the pandemic has been in the way shops interact with customers. “Shops have implemented precautionary measures when addressing customers face-toface, in the vehicle hand-off, etc., to en-

September 2020

sure that proper sanitization guidelines are followed,” says Kristin LanzaroneScribner, owner/operator of WrapStar Pro in Citrus Heights, California and a PRINTING United Alliance PDAA Member and Women in Print Alliance Committee Member. It’s also affected the supply chain. As print and wrap shops reopen, one of the biggest challenges owners find themsignshop.com


Photo: 3M.

selves dealing with is sourcing goods. “The biggest issue we are now forecasting is a shortage in supplies,” says Daniel Nava, owner of Travel Wraps Graphics/IBOW Training in Franklin, Indiana and a PRINTING United Alliance PDAA Committee Member. “Knifeless tape is on back order, vinyl is taking longer to get in stock, and the supply of new vehicles is dwindling as the automotive manufacturers shut down or decrease staff and production due to COVID-19.” Whether wrap shops stayed open during the shutdown largely depended on where they were located. “There were classifications that certain shops could still operate under the umbrella of ‘essential business,’ while others were forced to close their doors completely. It really came down to where the shop was located throughout the U.S., as rural areas were less likely to be affected,” says Ryan Allen, regional technical specialist at Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions. “The vehicle wrap industry is resilient though, and when the surge in essential signage requests hit, they were ready. Some vehicle wrap shops purchased new equipment to support the demand for the essential signage.” That demand for branding and COVID-19 signage was a boon for the wrap industry. “These companies that have survived have required complete floor-to-ceiling social distancing, COVID-19 prevention graphic packages,” says Josh Culverhouse, Graphic Innovations market manager at ORAFOL Americas, Inc. “A lot of these companies have also taken the opportunity to reinvent themselves and their branding, so this has escalated the importance of signage and graphics companies.” As part of that reinvention, the demand for fleet graphics has also shown growth. “We have experienced a dramatic rise in commercial wrap demand,” says Pete Kouchis, owner of VisuCom Signs & Graphics in Mokena, Illinois and PRINTING United Alliance PDAA committee co-chair. “Clients indicate that the slowdown in business has afforded them more flexibility to pull vehicles out of service.” signshop.com

While some of this reinvention is spurred on by necessity, much of it is the result of loans and stimulus money. “When businesses received their PPP funding and/or pandemic SBA loans, many jobs came in for fleet wraps as marketing write-offs,” says LanzaroneScribner. “Also there is a shortage in commercial fleet vehicles. Starting with the 2019 government shutdown to employee strikes (Chevrolet) to COVID-19, production of new vehicles has been extremely slow and lagging behind. Therefore, businesses are buying colored trucks instead of white trucks and then getting full wraps on those.” Commercial wrap design has also undergone a change.

WITH THE SLOWDOWN IN BUSINESS, CLIENTS PULLED VEHICLES OUT OF SERVICE, WHICH LED TO A DEMAND FOR COMMERCIAL WRAPS. “In commercial vehicle wraps, designs are becoming more professional,” says Adrian Cook, digital print marketing manager at 3M. “Businesses that want to portray a trustworthy image are skipping basic cut letters or gaudy colors and images and instead opting for a professionally designed, elegant full wrap.” Culverhouse agrees, saying, “We’re seeing an increase in solid-color wrap films being utilized for commercial wrap applications. Simplified, clean messaging is definitely trending in this space. Accompanying the solid-color base wrap films are spot graphic overlays utilizing print-and-cut logos or simple plotter cut lettering, striping, etc. “There’s no need to cram an entire brochure or Web site worth of informa-

tion into a vehicle wrap design. Allow a pedestrian or motorist an opportunity to quickly understand what the business has to offer. Accompany this message with a phone number and a Web site address.” Culverhouse also advises ensuring the most important information is not obscured by the design. “Don’t allow the background images, textures, or elements to overpower the message you’re trying to help your client convey to their customers when engaging the vehicle wrap,” he says. When designing commercial fleets, Lanzarone-Scribner uses what she calls “the contrast effect” to ensure that the most important information stands out. “I use this as a presentation to my clients to show how we make sure their logos and important information is displayed to the viewers the way it should,” she says. “When I complete a design layout in color, I then convert it to black and white to see if the blending of gray, white, and black areas contrast from each other (e.g., Is the logo contrasted off the background design and color? Is the phone number or Web site legible?). “This test will make sure the logo isn’t meshed in with the background design or colors.” On the consumer side, business has been mixed, as previously trending products like color-change wraps take a hit. “The eastern part of the United States saw the color-change market demand drop dramatically, as customers had less spending money due to job loss,” says Allen. As a result, some are sticking more closely to budgets and cutting back across the board. “Some customers have become more cost-conscious and therefore are choosing spot graphics and decals instead of full wraps,” says Cook, “but more often, we see customers delaying their purchases until economic conditions and market confidence improve.” On the other side of the coin (quite literally), many consumers are spending recently received funds on wraps. “When the unemployment and stimulus checks were distributed, many wanted to have automotive customizing

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Allen has noticed hood and roof wraps done with a gloss black film are also becoming popular. “We have also noticed an uptick in satin finish color-change wraps. This is primarily because they are aesthetically pleasing and satin materials are much easier to maintain compared to matte finish materials,” he says. “Even the twofaced wraps are maintaining in popularity, which means one side of the vehicle is wrapped in a different color or graphic than the other side.” Of course one of the tenets of wrap design that hasn’t changed is the need to understand the customer. “First and foremost, know what your customer wants. Get into their head,” says Nava. “Ask questions outside of, ‘What is your company name?’ or, ‘Do you have a logo?’ Ask questions about their hobbies, favorite professional teams/logos, and why? We have a list of questions that we ask our clients when it comes to design.”

September 2020

One of the other things to consider when designing is to be sure you’re creating a graphic that fits the vehicle type. “When designing graphics for a new vehicle type, it’s worthwhile to involve the installer to get on the same page,” recommends Cook. “Know the body lines, the curves, the dimensions, and the panels and create a design to fit it so you don’t have alignment or overstretching issues.” Lanzarone-Scribner says a lot of preplanning can be done during the designing and fabrication stage, as well. “I do a lot of pre-seaming or prehinging panels on my production table, cutting hours of trying to align nine-foot panels on a freight truck or 200-inch-long horizontal panels on a van by myself,” she says. “With the proper tools and extra production work time, an average Chevy Express van full wrap takes me four hours to wrap, solo, and a twenty-four-foot box truck, three hours, solo.” signshop.com

Photos (clockwise from left): 3M; Daniel P. Nava, Travel Wraps Graphics/IBOW Training; Tim Bettis of Wrapcision, Indianapolis, IN using ORACAL film.

work done like chrome deletes, hood and roof wraps, stripes, etc.,” says Lanzarone-Scribner. Nava says COVID-19 has actually opened the door for more custom designs. “The stimulus money is partially responsible for this, but I think more importantly, people have found the time to do things that make them feel good,” he says. “The current trends seem to be a lot of custom designs printed on different mediums. “Color change always has its place, however, wrap companies are working harder to push the boundaries of custom automotive. We are seeing printing on chromes, reflectives, and color-change films; and some of the manufacturers are offering clear wrap films to showcase the vehicles paint as well—a ‘tattooed’ look. “Mixed media also continues to be on the rise, which is bringing color change with printed overlays, textured laminates, and more.”


Promote and grow with graphics. From vehicles, to windows, to walls and floors—every surface is a chance for your customers to promote and grow their business. The 3M Graphics & Signage product portfolio gives you the tools you need so you and your clients can stand out.

Get inspired. 3M.com/WindowsWallsFloors


FEATURE NAME + MAGNETS BY MAURA AUTHORKELLER

SIGN OPPORTUNITIES

MAGNETIZING

A

ccording to Mike Gertz, marketing manager at magnet supplier Master Magnetics, Inc., whether used for short- or longterm applications, magnets can provide a variety of effective and simple options for point-of-purchase (P-O-P) displays. From hanging or holding signs or banners to creating full-wall, layered graphic displays, magnets are a great solution for many of these applications. “Basically any display that requires frequently-changing information or graphics are ideal for magnets,” he says. According to the sources interviewed, magnets are usually the simplest and most cost-effective solution for many point-ofpurchase applications. They’re easily repositionable, as well as reusable. They’re long lasting with permanent magnetism. And they’re available in a wide range of sizes and strengths to meet the specific requirements of the application. According to Gertz, printable magnetic sheeting, magnetic-receptive sheeting, a wide variety of magnetic sign holders, magnetic hooks, and carabiners and posts are the most sought-after magnetic signage components in P-O-P these days. “Magnetic carabiners are the ideal fas34

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tener for vinyl banners with grommets because of their strength and how easily repositionable magnets are with no need for drilling holes or other types of fasteners,” he says. Kylie Schleicher, product manager at display solutions provider Ultraflex Systems, Inc., points out that retail signage has evolved from standard rigid substrates and traditional magnets to also include the use of magnetic-receptive graphics—printable materials that will adhere to magnets in stores. “These graphics help solve some issues with the use of traditional magnetics, such as heavy weights for lifting and shipping,” says Schleicher. “Magnetic-receptive media is lightweight and can easily be installed by retail employees by rolling the material onto the magnet.” What’s more, magnetic graphic systems (magnetic sheeting and magneticreceptive sheeting) are ideal for P-O-P applications because the graphics and copy can be layered, so only the variable part needs to be changed. As Gertz explains, the magnetic sheeting is available with an adhesive backing that adheres to a wall or a backer board, and the layered graphics printed on magnetic-receptive sheeting

September 2020

quickly and easily attracts to the magnet. “For printed graphic displays, magnetic graphics offer the same brilliant high-resolution attention-getting clarity and color as most any other printable substrate,” he says. “Installation is simple and they’re easily repositionable and reusable.” For example, Ultraflex Systems offers its Ultraflex Signetics, which is magneticreceptive media that is easy to install in store as well as de-install. “[This product] also allows the graphics to be layered—for instance, adding

Magnetic sheeting.

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Photos: (top) Shutterstock.com/ NeMaria; (bottom) Master Magnetics.

Magnets have quite the pull when it comes to P-O-P displays.


STRAIGHT

TO YOUR

Magnetic sign holders and hooks.

INBOX SBI Update, Sign Builder Illustrated’s e-newsletter, delivers the latest hot topics and news from around the sign industry right to your email.

Photo; Master Magnetics.

a “Sale” graphic on top of an existing graphic or having different menus on top of one another for easy changeouts,” says Schleicher. “The material is also lightweight, which makes it easy and inexpensive to ship as opposed to the heavier rigid substrates. “And because the product can be rolled up in a tube for shipping, or shipped flat in a small package, the material is less prone to shipping damage, where large rigid substrates can be damaged due to improper handling.” Considerations To Make When considering incorporating magnetic components into signage applications, there are things signage professionals need to consider. For printed graphics, understand that the topcoat printable surface of the magnet or magnetic-receptive sheeting is compatible to the ink system of the printer. Solvent, eco-solvent, UV, and latex inks can print directly to most vinyl or coated topcoats. “However aqueous inks need to print onto a paper topcoat,” says Gertz. “And to protect it from handling or the weather, if intended to be used outdoors, they would need to be laminated.” Sign companies should also consider if there is any plan to layer graphics. If they plan on layering graphics, the team at Ultraflex Systems suggests the use of a highsignshop.com

energy magnet. “Initially sign companies need to consider what type of structure will hold the base magnet layer,” says Schleicher. “Will the magnets be permanently installed on the store walls? Or will they be mounted onto a board and installed? Or will they be used in a free-standing display? “Once the base is determined, the use of magnetic-receptive material is simple.” Meanwhile, for magnetic assemblies such as hooks, carabiners, or sign holders, signage professionals need to make sure the fastening end is appropriate for the sign or graphic and that the strength of the magnet is right for the application. Conclusion As far as the future prevalence of magnets within signage systems, Gertz believes the use of magnets will continue to grow as people become more and more aware of the simplicity, versatility, and cost-efficiency that magnetic solutions provide for P-O-P and other signage areas. Schleicher adds, “With a focus on industries cutting costs and limiting outside personnel into offices and stores, it also will be important to have office and retail employees change the graphics themselves. Magnetic-receptive materials are a great way to convey messages, menus, and seasonal signage, and [this media] can allow for messaging to be changed quickly and seamlessly.”

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September 2020

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DESIGN VINYL

BY JIM CIRIGLIANO BY PATRICK GALLAGHER

OUTDOOR

GALLERY VIEW

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Sign Builder Illustrated

Oshkosh-based Art City Wraps produced and installed these outdoor exhibit graphics. An Avery Dennison Certified Wrap Installer, the company digitally printed each of the art files onto weather-resistant Avery Dennison® MPI 1405 PVC-free film. The end-result mimicks an art gallery experience. Joshua Marquardt, vice president and partner at Art City Wraps, led a team of graphics professionals volunteers to apply each of the pieces onto the walls of participating property owners. (Note: Mar-

September 2020

quardt is an internationally recognized competitive wrap installer, so speed and precision are already a part of his forte.) The Oshkosh Mini Mural works of art were hung at eye level (along with a plaque) and spread around downtown. Visitors use a specially created Google map to find all twenty locations. Click on one and a photo of the installed mural comes up along the name of the artist and a link to their Instagram or Etsy account. The Oshkosh Mini Mural Project was actually the brainchild of Marquardt. signshop.com

Avery Dennison. Used with permission.

T

he city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin recently welcomed new, artist-driven scenery to its outdoor environment. The Oshkosh Mini Mural Project, which debuted on June 6, features colorful, digitally printed vinyl pieces displaying original works from twenty local artists covering the exterior walls of downtown Oshkosh, turning them into textured canvases of brick and cinder block. Even more amazing is that this outdoor art gallery (which also happens to be the city’s first) literally popped up overnight.

Photo: “Hendrix” by local artist Tyler Shea © 2020

Color-popping films highlight Oskosh Outdoor Mural Art Gallery.


“Firefly and Fox” by local artist Laura Ruddy © 2020 Avery Dennison. Used with permission.

Back in 2018, he proposed this idea to the just-formed Oshkosh Public Arts and Beautification Community, which was established to sponsor art events and other cultural initiatives in the city. The first hurdle involved raising money. “I [saw] how successful outdoor art murals were in some other cities,” said Marquardt, “so I suggested we find twenty locations where we could install original works from local artists and create some buzz about Oshkosh being a mural city.” The Oshkosh Convention & Visitors and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation got behind it, as did the City of Oshkosh (which waived any mural fees). Art City and others would donate their time, and other companies would sponsor the locations. The artists would benefit from all the exposure, and the Public Arts and Beautification Community would get some seed money. The original plan called for an artists’ reception that people would pay to attend. However the COVID-19 pandemic altered these plans. Not only was there not going to be a reception nor opening ceremony, but people’s charitable giving priorities changed. Yet the artists had already created their works, and the insignshop.com

“Dappled View” by local artist Reagan Mulvey. © 2020 Avery Dennison. Used with permission.

stallation locations were all lined up, so the show would go on. Each art piece is placed at safe distances from the other in order to keep viewers at an acceptable length from their fellow art lovers. Instead of creating a fund for the arts, any income goes directly to the artists, most of whom had been financially impacted by the pandemic. Avery Dennison donated rolls of MPI 1405 film for this project. “[It] has great color pop and really conforms to rough, textured surfaces like brick, concrete, and cinder block,” said Marquardt. “If you didn’t know it, you would think [the artwork] was painted on the walls.” Marquardt and his team of volunteers started installing late on Friday afternoon and worked through the night until around 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning, just in time for the Mini Mural Project’s official opening at 8:00 a.m. “I had a torch in one hand to illuminate the job while I worked, and drones following us around overhead,” said Marquardt, noting that a violinist and other musicians were playing in different spots while they were installing the murals. The Oshkosh Mini Mural Project is a semi-permanent installation. While MPI

1405 film is durable, many of the participating buildings are historic. “And when the murals eventually need to come down, the film is designed for clean removal, so there will be no residue or damage to the buildings,” said Marquardt. There really is no other outdoor mural showcase like this anywhere else in the state. Because of this, Marquardt hopes people now start thinking of Oshkosh as “Wisconsin’s Mural City.”

YouTube Video

VIEW A YOUTUBE VIDEO of Art City Wraps installing the Mini Mural Project art at https://bit.ly/30oeUH5.

September 2020

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39


SHOP TALK BUSINESS | BY DAVID HICKEY, ISA VICE PRESIDENT, GOV’T. AFFAIRS start should there be future national disasters that impact the ability to work.

The industry doesn’t slow down for a pandemic.

I

t’s been quite the year, hasn’t it? It may be too early to consider the longterm implications of shutdowns and reopenings, pandemics, masks, and all, but there are a few things, including significant accomplishments, that are worth noticing—especially as they lay groundwork for the future. Companies kept working. As cities and states issued stay-at-home orders, it seemed initially that our industry was going to be excluded as “essential business.” But, we knew—and our customers knew—that our products would be vital forms of communication. ISA’s first step was to start conversations with federal agencies to get sign and graphics companies on the “list.” In the interim, ISA developed letter templates that companies could use to prove their work for companies were esSign Builder Illustrated Magazine (Print ISSN 895-0555, Digital ISSN 21614709) (USPS#0015-805) (Canada Post Cust. #7204564; Agreement #40612608; IMEX Po Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Canada) is published monthly 11 times per year in the months of January, February, March, April, May, June/July, August, September, October, November, and December with the exception of June, which is a digital-only issue, by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 88 Pine St. 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10005. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and Additional mailing offices. Pricing, Qualified individual working in the sign industry may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions Print version, Digital version, Both

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sential—like hospitals and restaurants. In addition, templates were developed for employees traveling to and from work who were required to carry letters denoting why they were out and about during stay-at-home orders. In the first few weeks of the stay-athome orders, sign, graphics, and visual communications companies asked ISA to help them prove that they were delivering essential services. Rather than fight this issue one location at a time, ISA was able to convince the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that our industry’s work contributed to the nation’s “critical infrastructure.” Many cities and states used the CISA list as a starting point, while some adopted the list in full. Now that sign, graphics, and print companies are on the list, we will have a solid base from which to Print & Digital versions: 1 year US/Canada/Mexico $50.00; foreign $99.00. Single Copies are $15.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. Prices are subject to change. COPYRIGHT © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2020. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. For reprint information, contact: Arthur Sutley, Publisher (212) 620-7247 or asutley@ sbpub.com. For Subscriptions, & address changes, Please call (US Only) 1-800-553-8878 (CANADA/INTL) 1-319-364-6167, Fax 1-319-364-4278, e-mail signbuilder@ stamats.com, or write to: Sign Builder Illustrated, Simmons-Boardman Publ.

September 2020

The International Sign Association isn’t done. Our Business Continuity Resource Center (signs.org/bcrc) was designed as a hub to keep vital information—all intended to keep sign and graphics companies operating—in one spot. We’ve learned a lot about the kind of information that you need—pandemic or not—and will use this to continue developing information that you need when you need it. There is still a lot of work to do to put the pandemic behind us and begin to rebuild. And while no one wants to relive this event, it is important to take a step back and enjoy some of the hard-fought successes—especially as those can pay off for years to come. Corp, PO Box 1407, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52406-1407. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 1407, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52406-1407. Instructional information provided in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to-activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.

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Photo: Shutterstock/CandyBox Images.

The Year So Far

Planners received targeted information. Our advocacy outreach with planners did not stop during this time, especially since temporary signs were crucial to communicating. A restaurant, for instance, might need to boldly advertise its phone number for to-go orders while a retailer might need to remind customers that their business was open. Webinars helped local planners understand these issues and craft reasonable codes to keep these businesses open. That being said, for some, it was business as usual. And the pandemic was no excuse to slow down or overly complicate the permitting process. Planners attending ISA’s Webinars were able to understand how vital a smooth permitting process is to our industry—and ultimately to their community. This was already an area of extreme frustration to our members before the pandemic, and it’s an area in which we’re continuing to work closely with the planning community.


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